Duke basketball finds new gear in comeback against Pittsburgh

Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team hit a new gear in the second half against Pittsburgh. 

It’s been too long since the Duke basketball team has hit another gear.

That changed on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh.

It is still a little troubling that it took the No. 24 Blue Devils to be trailing by 11 points at halftime, 43-32, and down by as many as 12 points, 48-36, in the second half to show much needed emotion but the intensity was much needed.

Duke rattled off a 15-0 run in the second half to seize control of the game and its defense reverted to its elite status holding Pittsburgh without a field goal for nearly nine minutes.

Kyle Filipowski’s performance was dazzling after the star freshman appeared to hit a wall following his stellar start to the season.

Filipowski paced the Blue Devils (13-4, 5-2 ACC) with 28 points and 15 rebounds in the 77-69 victory as junior captain Jeremy Roach was sidelined for the second straight game with a toe injury.

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However, it was Roach’s replacement, Tyrese Proctor, that brought the Blue Devils to the finish line with nine points in the second half, including four straight points after the Panthers (11-6, 4-2 ACC) cut the Duke lead to five, 69-64, with 3:02 to play.

Dariq Whitehead did not have his best shooting night, finishing just 2-for-11 from the floor, but still managed five rebounds and two blocks.

Duke basketball finally gets major contribution from top prospect

The long awaited arrival of Dereck Lively might have come to fruition.

It certainly did in the second half against Pittsburgh.

Lively debuted a post move that he has not shown all year, backing down his defender and using a hook shot off the backboard, to tie the game at 52 with 10:26 to play.

The top ranked recruit looked active and engaged on both ends of the floor, despite his foul trouble, and ended the night with six points and four rebounds but had a +16 rating, the second highest on the team behind Filipowski.

Duke will be challenged in its upcoming schedule with three of its next four games being on the road, something that has given the Blue Devils trouble in the last two weeks.

Jon Scheyer will take his team to South Carolina to face the ACC-leading Clemson Tigers (13-3, 5-0 ACC) on Saturday afternoon (5:00p.m. ET, ACC Network) to try and push its winning streak to three games.